On August 14 and 15, more than 700 bloggers and online creatives descended upon the RACV Royal Pines on Australia’s Gold Coast for two days of learning and networking at the ProBlogger Training Event.
We had wonderful speakers – Pamela Wilson from Big Brand System and Copyblogger, Heather B. Armstrong from Dooce, and Jadah Sellner from Simple Green Smoothies were a few of the international contingent, and there was a strong representation of speakers from all levels of Australian blogging. The topics ranged from how to cultivate your blogging voice, to how to run your blog like a small business, and everything in between.
One of the key themes of the event was to make small changes. In my opening keynote I talked about how small changes were needed in your health and wellness too, as these factors will impact your blogging and online endeavours. I also shared my tips for productivity and encouraged attendees to think about their “why” – what was the purpose of their blog that drove them? Only when you know and work in accordance with that will you be successful.
This post focuses on some of the main ideas and recommended action steps that came out of the training weekend. We’ve linked to further resources where possible.
Look at your life
It’s so important to get the foundations of any business right, and the foundation of everything is you. How are you? No, really? Are you eating right? Getting enough sleep? Exercising? Paying attention to relationships? All of these things and more (including knowing your purpose) impacts on every aspect of your business.
- Start tracking your movement
- Take a daily walk in the sunshine
I have provided more tips on living a good life at Feel Gooder.
- Monitor how much time you are spending responding VS how much are your spending creating. Many people recommended Rescue Time to help them discover where their online time went.
- Action: write down three tasks you can batch process. I wrote How Batch Processing Made Me 10 Times More Productive in 2008.
- Know your best hours to work. First thing in the morning? Lunch time? Afternoon? Evening? Read: How To Figure Out Your Most Productive Time Of Day
- Find an accountability partner. Some attendees are creating groups to help support them
- You don’t need official mentors. Action step: find someone whose work you love and get to know more about their work and personality
- Look at your goal list. Can you change it to have bigger goals with smaller supporting goals?
- Learn more about spam referrals and how to stop them. You can learn more about this at How to Stop Spam Bots from Ruining Your Analytics Referral Data
- Set up #analytics site search to track keywords that users have typed into your site search to inform your content strategy. To see why, read A Guide to Using Data Analytics to Optimize Your Content Marketing Strategies
- Track page views by hour to know when is the best time to post for maximum readership. Moz explains the advantages of doing this at Using Google Analytics for Blog Post Timing Insights
- Use Webmasters to check for crawl errors. Learn more about this, and how to fix the errors, at Website Maintenance: 404 error pages
- Set up a time to check Google Analytics each month. Look at the content that isn’t working. Stop writing that type of content. Look at the content that is resonating and focus more on that.
- Develop a list of all the items on your blog that can be measured, such as page views or events, and set up measures for these. Read How to use Google Analytics to Measure Engagement on Your blog to learn how.
- What small actions can you take to love and delight your community?
- Make a list of ways you can pay it forward
- Action step: list the simple actions people can take to move people closer to their transformation. What is the gateway problem you can solve? Don’t overwhelm with the value: What is one simple thing your audience can do?
- Identify and create a profile for your dream reader. Use Pinterest and Instagram to help figure out who you want to serve.
- The best content are posts/resources that are insanely useful. Create a list of posts you can write that will make life easier for your readers. Look at speaker Pamela Wilson’s resources page for a brilliant example of the type of posts to write.
- Commit to critically assessing your blog posts before you press publish. Is there a payoff for the reader? Am I communicating more than one idea? Am I making it hard for the reader to act?
- Look at the images you are posting on each platform. Are the images native to that platform? Look at using the recently launched Canva at Work to easily resize them
- Plan out your next month of content in advance.The article How to Build a Content Calendar can help you with this.
- Write down 100 ideas for blog posts. Need inspiration? Check out The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas
- Check out your draft posts. Could you use any of these ideas to come up with a list of 100? Thanks to Tonya Grant from our Facebook community for that idea.
- Invite people from your email list to an informal focus group on the phone. You can incentivize them with free or cheap access to a product, or offer a free coaching question in exchange. Amy Porterfield offers advice about this process in How to Create a Survey to Find Your Target Market
- Brainstorm ideas for a challenge. Create a Facebook group to test the idea and build initial momentum. You can check out my original Challenge, 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, and the updated podcast version. This started via blog posts but is a great way to learn.
- Look in your blog community for people who have created challenges as part of the opt-in process. Analyze the content. What are they doing right? What could they do better?
- Link your social media profiles to your email unsubscribe. They may not want to communicate with you via email but would be interested in content on a different platform. Want more ideas to integrate social media and email? Check out Buffers post 6 Creative Ways to Combine Social Media and Email
- Tailor the content to user site behaviour or a specific registration/landing page
- re-engagement campaigns can improve list health. If they don’t connect with your campaign, you can drop the subscribers. You can learn more about email engagement campaigns via this great course at Hubspot.
- Uncover the needs of those you want to serve in a welcome email ask who are you, your hopes and dreams what’s getting in the way?
Pamela Wilson delivered a great presentation on Content Events. These events are designed to build your list and make your audience love you. You can learn more about this concept in Pamelas fabulous post on the subject at Copyblogger.
The following action steps apply to those that are interesting in developing a content event.
- Give your a content event a name that makes people want to attend. Promise a solution, create curiosity and promise a benefit
- Create a graphic around your event.
- Give those that are attending for the first time a separate email to stay in contact.
- new first time attendees give them a separate email to stay in contact
- Create a thank you page for those signed up to attend your event. It really builds goodwill and makes people feel special
- Create a special offer for an older product after your content event. This can increase sales.
- Find ways to continue the conversation after the event. Send resources like a checklist, transcript, replay or resource list.
Need an example of content events? Check out out Pamelas example at Big Brand Webinars.
Video was mentioned during a number of sessions. A lot of the advice was about practical skills that you could immediately apply
- Look at Vimeo pro. It was recommended for hosting videos that you only want certain people to see. They work on every device and puts controls around who sees the videos
- Watch Australian story to see how they put together their stories for inspiration for your video.
- Sign up for Bloggers Video School (if allowed.)
- Experiment with scheduling. Post at different times of the day and see what response you get.
- Try out Co-Schedule to see if it works for you.
- Decide on specific times each day when you will interact with your fans on Facebook. You can experiment with different times, but stick to the original time limit.
- Ask relevant friends to share your Facebook page. This is a good way to create an initial audience on Facebook
- Asking prescheduled questions on Facebook can reduce the overwhelm. Watch this video from Amy Porterfield to learn how to ask the questions that get your Fans talking.
- Ask yourself: why do I want to be on Instagram? You shouldn’t be on there because you think you should. You need a compelling reason. If you lack a good reason, consider not using the platform.
- Look at your brands Instagram account. Are you posting a lot of personal images? If so, look at creating a separate account. If you want a great example, look at the Instagram profile for Interiors Addict.
- Optimize your Instagram bio. Look at How to Write Instagram Bios for Businesses.
- Create a hashtag strategy for Instagram that makes it easy for people to find your photos. Read How to Identify Relevant Hashtags for Your Business for tips.
- Hire a friend that is a really good photographer to take photos for you. This is more authentic then stock photos. If you can’t afford this, offer to barter services.
- Think right now: who are 3 people in similar fields to you who may have a similar dream client? Can you cross promote with them?
- Use Iconosquare to learn about the key metrics about your Instagram account.
- If you are a lifestyle brand, look at showing a ‘day in the life’ of the lifestyle product. Example: one day of a cleanse
- Create keyboard shortcuts so you don’t have to copy and paste all your hashtags from notepad. This video from Dotti Media shows you how to do this.
- Seek out Feature Instagram Accounts. These are posts that curate photos from the Instagram community according to them. Use the relevant hashtag in your photos to catch the curators attention.You can learn more about them at Instagram 101: What Are “Feature” Accounts?
Ruth Soukup, From Living Well Spending Less, spoke on ways we could improve our Pinterest presence. She dropped a lot of knowledge in a short amount of time.
- Pinterest graphics are a must for your blog. Read The 3 Step Guide to Creating Pinterest-friendly Graphics for Your Blog for help on creating them.
- Decide on the core design elements of your Pinterest Graphics. Ruth recommended that you don’t use too many fonts. Choose 2-3 and create a consistent look with your pins. This can help build familiarity and your brand
- Commit to learning more about Pin descriptions. Ruth said that 3-4 sentences or 200 characters is the right amount for the description. Read 13 Ways To Rock Your Pin Descriptions To Get Massive Click Throughs . Go through blog thats that you have already pinned. Can you improve the description?
- Do you have more than two products? Ask yourself: Can I integrate others into the sales process?
- Ask around in your community for find your design team. You can ask people publicly via social media or ask your peers privately
- Looking an information product designer? Look at the people who designed products you are in love with
- Idea: Create a manual for your affiliates. Walk them through the technical process step by step. This will prevent many of the support queries you can get. You can also include ideas on how to increase conversions.
These action steps are primarily for those who have finished, or need to improve, their current landing page.
- Once you have finished your sales page, take a break. Walk around reading it out load viewing on your tablet. You will be able to pick up many errors this way.
- Add a urgent call to action to your landing page, such as a special price or the product only being available for a period of time. Make sure this is genuine though.
- Test your landing page. Does it load quickly? Work on mobile? Work with images off?
Need more ideas? Check out 101 Landing Page Optimization Tips from Unbounce
Working with brands:
- Make a list of the brands you like to work with.
- Look at the list of brands that you like. What are their social media channels?
- Think about ways you can naturally include them in social media conversations to get on their radar.
- Research the names of brand managers. They are the people you should be talking to
- Look at your media kit. Does it need to be updated? If so, do it
If you’re interested in attending the ProBlogger Training Event for 2016, you can register your details here.
Blogging is a great way to share priceless information and stay relevant among blog readers, search engines, and social networks.
I think the line between blogs and websites is becoming more grey. Therefore, what is a blog reader? One who simply reads content on the net?
Wow wow Darren,
This is really so incredible, i wish i was among the attendees :). What an awesome and information rich event. Its very obvious that everyone that attended went home with lots of lesson and information.
Thanks so much for taken time to share with us some of the things that was talked about there, i will gradually go through the links here.
The self care thing fuels all that I do! Glad you drilled down on that point.
From meditating to stretching to exercising, to my intermittant fasting routine, how I take care of my body dictates how high I vibe, which dictates my blogging success. No way around this one, if you want to rock it out online.
Thanks for sharing!
I want to make the most out of these content marketing tips and personally would love to attend one of these session. Will plan out to attend it for sure. Great tips BTW Darren (:
Amazing, really complete set of skills to develop here.
Now the tricky part, finding a space in my over-scheduled calendar.
My blog suffers from exactly the aspects of “me” as stated above, sleep, rest, exercise, so much to do, so little time.
What a great round up. Full of blogging gold. The biggest game changers for me as a blogger are definitely batching, an editorial calandar & scheduling. Co-schedule plays a big part. Perfect for visual planning too.
As for the list of 100, I have google docs documents for my 2 blogs & add new ideas whenever they come to me. Always well over 100 ideas, plus I find when batching, as you are writing one article, you come up with great content you could link to & suddenly you might have 2-3 more posts in mind.
Saving time & staying inspired!
This is all great, however say you have fabulous photos and you post 2-3 per day. Why is it this fabulous engaging photos can’t build my Instagram or Twitter acc above 70 ppl? You try different photos – still no growth. Try something else – still no growth….maybe, just maybe so many ppl are doing the same thing that we got list in the game!
Pinterest – there are millions of ppl using Pinterest. Everyone gets told to do the same thing – once again how do I get found when millions of ppl are doing the same thing?
You can have the best content, but what good is it if no one can find you? Interact with other bloggers, engage in their blog, leave a comment, a link – nothing!
I think Blogging hit its prime 2-3 years ago. Now EVERYONE has one, and we are all trying to be found.